Overview and History of Google Maps
– Google Maps is a web mapping platform and consumer application offered by Google.
– It offers satellite imagery, aerial photography, street maps, Street View, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for various modes of transportation.
– As of 2020, Google Maps was being used by over one billion people every month worldwide.
– Google Maps was launched in February 2005.
– Google Maps started as a C++ desktop program developed by Where 2 Technologies and was acquired by Google in October 2004.
– Google also acquired Keyhole and ZipDash, which contributed to the development of Google Earth and Google Maps.
– Google Maps offers an API that allows maps to be embedded on third-party websites.
– Google Map Maker, a tool for collaborative mapping, was discontinued in March 2017.

Features and Updates of Google Maps
– Google Maps provides satellite imagery, street maps, and 360° panoramic views.
– The available satellite imagery is regularly updated.
– Google Maps introduced a miniature view and Info windows in 2007.
– Google Maps for Mobile 2.0 was released in 2007, featuring the My Location feature.
– Google Maps app for Android was released in 2008.
– Google Maps added speed trap and speed camera alerts in 2019.
– Google Maps introduced incident reporting in 2019.
– Google Maps received a 15th anniversary redesign in 2020.
– Google announced a COVID-19 Layer update in 2020.

Functionality of Google Maps
– Google Maps provides a route planner for driving, public transportation, walking, or biking.
– It partners with over 800 public transportation providers globally to make transit data available.
– Google Maps offers live traffic maps using crowdsourced GPS data.
– Users can choose to not share location information with Google Maps.
– Google Street View provides panoramic street-level views of various locations.
– Indoor maps allow navigation within buildings like airports and shopping malls.
– Google My Maps allows users to create custom maps.
– Google Local Guides is a volunteer program for contributing to Google Maps.
– Earth Timelapse shows how the earth has changed in the last 37 years.

Google Maps API
– Google Maps API is a free service until June 2018.
– API key linked to Google Cloud account with billing enabled required after July 16, 2018.
– Google Maps API allows embedding maps into external websites.
– It provides services for geocoding, driving directions, and elevation profiles.
– Over 1,000,000 websites use the Google Maps API.
– Google Maps API for Flash was deprecated in September 2011.
– Increased prices and billing profile required as of June 21, 2018.

Criticism and Controversies of Google Maps
– Google Maps has faced criticism for adding out-of-date or incorrect neighborhood names.
– Some names gaining traction are traced to non-professionally made maps with errors.
– Concerns have been raised about potential misuse of satellite images for planning attacks.
– Google Maps in China must partner with a Chinese digital map provider and uses a different coordinate system.
– Maps are created from third-party data, public sources, satellites, and user submissions.  Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Maps

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